This past week I arrived home from a short-term mission trip to SE Asia. And while there I was confronted with the terrifying reality that many of the people I met will not have an opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, the daunting statistic that there is something around 50 believers in this minority South Eastern Asian ethnic group of 1.2 million almost makes it certain that the overwhelming majority of these people will spend an eternity separated from a holy God in a real, actual placed called hell; even continuing to type any comments after the last sentence that I feel is “worthy” seems utterly ridiculous, but I want to press on in this post and briefly share some things that the Spirit of God has been impressing upon my heart.
A verse that has been on the forefront of my mind is Luke 10:2 where Jesus speaks of the truth that “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Elsewhere in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically 9:37-38 Jesus tells us that we should pray for more workers. Harvest = a lot. Workers = few. Remedy = pray for more workers. Seems simple enough. But truth be told, I don’t pray for the setting apart of workers like I should; that needs to change and by God’s grace, I pray it does. But I’d like to also comment on why I believe there is a scarcity of workers. I think it comes down to the myriad of idols in our lives that function like “gods.” “Gods” like pleasure, convenience, comfort, sex, materialism, apathy, and many more all seem to rule over many Christians and thus, prevent them from availing themselves to the mission of God to make His great name known among the nations…the problem as I see it is that His name is not great in their own heart (and honestly, He’s not elevated to where He needs to be in my own heart as well), which hinders them (and me) from embodying a spirit of urgency regarding the expansive lostness that is all around them. There is a lack of workers because (1) there is a lack of prayers, but (2) those prayers are probably rooting out and exposing certain idols or functional “gods” that rule over the identity and mission of Jesus, which should consequently be our identity and mission.
Truly, this hits close to home. I love my stuff. I love my comfort. I love my security. I love the convenience of my life. I love my family. My stuff, comfort, security, convenience and even family is elevated to a position where it/they rule over my heart’s affections and squeeze out the mission and calling that God has placed upon every child of God – making Him known among the nations. This starts in my own heart first and then will inevitably migrate to every facet of who we are. And this is only possible as an individual embraces the true knowledge of who God is. A true knowledge of God will expel any other idolatrous affections and reorient our lives unto the truth.
Holy, righteous Father, who is infinitely gracious and merciful, purge me of my idols, my functional “gods” and let me be fixated on knowing, loving and honoring your Son in my own heart, in my marriage, in my family, in my church, in my neighborhood and in the nations. And where I lose sight of my purpose and existence, please, by your grace, bring me back to where I need to be.
One thought on “Functional gods vs the One True God”
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and preaching this today. I was hit by your earnestness and reminded of how complacent I am, even in speaking the name of Jesus at work. It hits close to home for me, too…